These Are Some of the Most Dangerous Medications in America [infographic]

Opioids, birth control pills, Zithromax, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and acetaminophen plus alcohol are some of the most dangerous medications in America. Drug-related fatalities are increasing dramatically across the nation, and tens of thousands of Americans lose their lives every year due to drug-related reasons. Some drugs cause severe complications or even death after just a single dose, while others lead to death after prolonged use.

(Article continues below infographic)

Most dangerous medications in America infographic

The Most Dangerous Drugs in America


Opioids are a group of prescription drugs used mostly as pain relievers. They include hydrocodone, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, fentanyl, and others. These kinds of drugs are extremely effective in treating severe pain, especially when utilized temporarily. Unfortunately, they are extremely addictive and result in dependence and abuse within no time.

Abuse of prescription opioids can cause a patient to look for stronger drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. This usually happens when the ‘high” provided by prescription opioids is no longer sufficient for him or her. Opioids abuse has become a serious health concern in the United States, with around 91 people dying every day in 2015.

Birth Control Pills

These types of drugs prevent pregnancy by ending the ovulation process of a woman. They achieve this by using synthetic versions of hormones progestin and estrogen. By stabilizing the natural hormone levels of the woman, these synthetic hormones keep estrogen from reaching the peak at the middle of the menstruation cycle. Due to the lack of estrogen surge, the pituitary gland is unable to release other hormones responsible for triggering the ovaries to release eggs.

Birth control pills consisting of both estrogen and progestin are called “combination pills,” while those containing only progestin are called “minipills.” Women who frequently use combination pills are at a higher risk of suffering blood clots, especially pulmonary embolism (PE) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRI are often prescribed for patients with various psychological disorders, such as panic disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, anxiety, and depression. Some of the popular SSRIs brands are Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. They function by raising serotonin levels to reinstate the chemical balance within the brain. This mechanism of action can, however, cause mood swings that can further exacerbate anxiety and depression.

Although most patients attain positive outcomes with SSRIs, various studies have linked these medications with higher risks of suicidal thoughts and habits among some patients, particularly children and adolescents. In fact, a clinical trial carried out by the FDA revealed that patients who took an SSRI had two times higher rate of suicidal thinking or actions than their counterparts who took a placebo.


Commonly called Zmax or Z-pak, Zithromax is an antibiotic prescribed for a wide array of bacterial infections. When it was introduced around two decades ago, this medication gained immense popularity due to its effectiveness and brief treatment course. In the last few years, however, medical professionals have discovered that the effectiveness of Zithromax has declined because a variety of bacterial infection strains have developed resistance to the medication. Researchers believe Zithromax has become ineffective due to over-prescription.

One study in the Jama Internal Medicine journal shows that strep bacteria cause just 10 percent of all sore throats and only those need antibiotic treatment. Researchers, however, discovered that medical practitioners prescribe antibiotics for 60 percent of all patients with sore throat symptoms. Zithromax is surprisingly prescribed in 15 percent of all those sore throat cases. As a result, these medical practitioners have unreasonably exposed many patients to the serious health risks related to Zithromax side effects like fatal cardiac arrhythmia issues. Zithromax is an FDA-approved drug but that doesn’t give it a clean bill of health. An FDA label doesn’t mean a pharmaceutical medication is completely safe.

A person who has developed cardiac arrhythmia problems due to the use of Zithromax can recover compensation for his or her prescribed medical injuries. A personal injury lawyer can review the medical records and collect enough evidence to help such a person recover maximum compensation from the negligent physician. Finding an injury lawyer who will work on a contingency basis will ensure the injured party won’t pay any legal fees unless he or she wins.

Acetaminophen Plus Alcohol

While acetaminophen is a harmless over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever, it can cause acute liver damage or failure and even death when combined with alcohol. Acetaminophen plus alcohol forces the liver to work strenuously to break down both substances, which mostly overwhelms the liver.

The alcohol breaks down faster than acetaminophen, leaving behind higher amounts of toxic acetaminophen enzymes inside the body. These toxic enzymes can result in severe liver damage or failure. It is, therefore, advisable for patients taking acetaminophen to avoid consuming alcohol.